Auburn Tigers vs. Ole Miss Rebels Pick
Auburn Tigers (4-3 SU, 2-5 ATS) vs. Ole Miss Rebels (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS)
NCAA Football Week 8
Date/Time: Saturday October 20th, 2018. 12:00PM (EST)
Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Oxford, M.S.
By: Jay Horne, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: AUB -4/MISS +4
Over/Under Total: 62
After the 23-9 loss to Mississippi State two weeks ago, Auburn fans started a GoFundme page for Gus Malzahn’s buyout. How did Auburn respond? Last week the Tigers had an ever worst performance by being upset by Tennessee at home 30-24. Needless to say, Coach Malzahn has lost the fan base and if things continue down this path; it will not be long before he loses the players faith as well. This week the Tigers go on the road to Oxford to play the Ole Miss Rebels who surprisingly hold a 5-2 SU record despite two notorious blowout losses at the hands of LSU and Alabama. However, rest assured this is a game the Rebels feel like they can win and this is a game Auburn must win to restore some type of faith back into the program.
Trust Auburn’s offense this week
So why has a preseason top 10 team suddenly fallen into the pits of the SEC West? Well the main concerns surround a struggling offense that has been unable to run the football. Ever since Malzahn arrived at Auburn in 2013 as the official Head Coach, Auburn has consistently been one of the top rushing offenses in the nation. This year Auburn ranks 83rd in the FBS in rushing and has been held to 24 points or less in 3 straight games. Simply put, this is not the same offense that we have been accustomed to watching in Auburn under Malzahn.
In fact, this Auburn offense has favored the pass a lot more this season. Perhaps some of it has been forced but either way the ball has been placed on quarterback Jarrett Stidham’s arm quite often. For whatever reason, the public’s perception is that Auburn is still a running team. I feel like that helps us this week as Stidham will take aim at one of the worst pass defenses in the country in Ole Miss. The Rebels have relinquished nearly 300 yards per game through the air ranking 120th in the FBS against the pass. Ole Miss simply lacks talent in the secondary. It’s not coaching, it’s not schemes, it’s simply a lack of talent. As a result, I expect Stidham to have a big game this week and spark this struggling Auburn offense.
Reasons to bet the over!
Not only will Auburn get a chance to take aim at the SEC’s worst pass defense but I firmly believe Ole Miss’s pace will force this game into a high scoring affair. The Rebels have one of the quickest tempo offensive approaches in the SEC and they will try to wear down this Auburn defensive line by keeping the tempo moving. This Rebels offense is equipped to run a lot of plays and they have the playmakers to strike quick.
Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu has been rock solid with 15 passing scores and 5 picks. Running back Scottie Phillips has racked up 723 yards with 9 touchdowns in the first half of the year. Meanwhile, the Rebels receiving corps has plenty of talent as well with A.J Brown and D.K. Metcalf on the outside. To break it down simply, each team’s strength goes right against each defense’s weakness. Additionally, the tempo from Ole Miss will put an emphasis on scoring. Before the line was released, I had this game pegged at a lower 70 total. I think Auburn’s struggles have caused the betting line to be much lower but I think those concerns can be put to bed for at least this week based purely on the matchup.
Betting trends for Auburn vs. Ole Miss
For the trend bettors, Auburn has gone under the total in 4 of their last 5 games again as a result of an underperforming offense. However, let’s look at some of the other trends that deal more with the matchup and scheme angle alluded to before. The Rebels have reached the over total in 12 of their last 16 games and 6 of their last 8 games at home (where they control the tempo). Additionally, the total has went “over” the mark in 7 of the last 9 meetings between the Tigers and Rebels. Therefore, trust the trends that matter.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take the over 62